Santa Barbara, Calif. - The No. 1 Pacific men's water polo team held off a late surge from No. 6 UC Santa Barbara Sunday for an 11-9 win. Senior Goran Tomasevic led the Tigers with three goals.
Seniors Balazs Erdelyi and Kevin Oliveira, and sophomore Kristian Laczkovics each added two goals while redshirt sophomore Casey Fleming and freshman Ben Stevenson also tallied for the Tigers.
The Tigers improve to 18-3 overall, and 5-1 in MPSF action. Pacific is now 3-0 vs the Gauchos this season, with wins in the NorCal and SoCal tournaments. The Tigers are also 2-0 as the nation's top-ranked team, and 7-3 against the top six in the polls.
Tomasevic gave Pacific a 2-0 lead with a pair of first quarter goals. UCSB answered to tie the game on goals by Kevin Cappon and Matt Gronow. But Oliveira scored underneath the crossbar and Tomasevic picked up the hat trick as Pacific took a 4-2 lead after one quarter of play.
In the second, Erdelyi tallied to open the period, but Nick Jordan answered for the Gauchos. Laczkovics got on the board to stretch Pacific's lead to three at 6-3 with 4:13 to go before the half.
Bryce Miller pulled the Gauchos within two, but Oliveira fed Stevenson on the doorstep for a well-executed goal as Pacific held a 7-4 advantage at halftime.
UCSB posted the first goal of the second half, as Derek Shoemaker snuck one by Malkis, but Casey Fleming answered to restore the three-goal margin.
Erdelyi's second of the game gave the Tigers their largest lead, at 9-5, but Matt Hamilton quickly responded and after a Gauchos stop, Shoemaker scored again as UCSB pulled within 9-7.
But Oliveira beat the clock to close the third quarter, as Pacific led 10-7 after three periods.
The fourth period was a defensive standoff, with play getting chippy. Eric Van de Mortel and Gronow broke through for the Gauchos to trim Pacific's lead to 10-9.
The Tigers barely missed extending the lead, as Tomasevic's shot on a 6-on-5 advantage was just offline, and Sean Grady's shot was knocked down on the line, but ruled no goal.
Malkis and the Tigers defense stepped up, as Tomasevic snuffed out an entry pass and the Tigers held the Gauchos at bay.
Laczkovics then iced the game with 24 seconds left, providing a two-goal cushion with his second tally of the game.
The Tigers lead the MPSF at 5-1, tied in the loss column with No. 2 UCLA (4-1), No. 2 USC (4-1) and No. 4 Stanford (4-1), with Stanford and USC in action Sunday afternoon. Pacific has completed their conference games against those three teams, and will close MPSF play against No. 9 UC Irvine and No. 8 Long Beach State.
Pacific will play host to Irvine on Saturday, Nov. 16 at noon at Chris Kjeldsen Pool, and hold senior day on Nov. 23 at home against LBSU, also at noon before hosting the MPSF Tournament November 29-December 1.
#1 PACIFIC 4 - 3 - 3 - 1 -- 11
#6 UCSB 2 - 2 - 3 - 2 -- 9
Pacific Goal Scorers: Tomasevic 3, Erdelyi 2, Oliveira 2, Laczkovics 2, Fleming 1, Stevenson 1
PAC: #2 Goran Tomasevic (1-0)
PAC: #2 Goran Tomasevic (2-0)
UCSB: Kevin Cappon (2-1)
UCSB: Matt Gronow (2-2)
PAC: #21 Kevin Oliveira (3-2)
PAC: #2 Goran Tomasevic (4-2)
PAC: #9 Balazs Erdelyi (5-2)
UCSB: Nick Jordan (5-3)
PAC: #3 Kristian Laczkovics (6-3)
UCSB: Bryce Miller (6-4)
PAC: #12 Ben Stevenson (7-4)
UCSB: Derek Shoemaker (7-5)
PAC: #7 Casey Fleming (8-5)
PAC: #9 Balazs Erdelyi (9-5)
UCSB: Matt Hamilton (9-6)
UCSB: Derek Shoemaker (9-7)
PAC: #21 Kevin Oliveira (10-7)
UCSB: Eric Van de Mortel (10-8)
UCSB: Matt Gronow (10-9)
PAC: #3 Kristian Laczkovics (11-9)